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Embracing Mediocrity

October 15th, 2012, posted by Aimee

Recently I was at dinner with one of my good friends who also happens to be the CFO of a fast-growing Silicon Valley startup and a hotshot on the fast track to entrepreneurial superstardom. She’s also fantastically witty, stylish, a social butterfly and the mom to two boys under six … basically the kind of chick who makes the rest of us cringe, check our chipped nails and dotty resume before reaching for a second glass of chardonnay to dull the pain of inadequacy in her shadow.

So imagine my surprise when, in answer to my question about how she manages to “do it all” in terms of career, motherhood and social life, she admitted bluntly, “I don’t. I try to do the best I can at work, but honestly I basically suck at my job sometimes.” She went on to admit she has simply decided that it was better to find a way to live with what in her mind is substandard performance on some aspects of her job than to shortchange other areas of her life.

Given the fact she’s the CEO’s right-hand woman and that her company’s on a meteoric rise in the Valley, “Lisa” is definitely exaggerating a bit in her description of failure at work. But it’s still amazing to me that she truly believes she is performing at what she calls “C minus” level – but has chosen not to lose much sleep about it.

That’s exactly how I have felt for the better part of five years since the T-man was born, when this A+ student realized I could no longer pull the 4.0 at work. Instead, I have slowly settled into a life of what I call, “Embracing Mediocrity” … not just at work, but in other areas of my life as well. A few examples where I’m lucky to score a “C” these days:

o My body – I can’t seem to get the discipline I used to have to track my Weight Watchers points and lose these damn last 10 pounds and feel good about baring my tummy in a bikini anymore.

o Career growth – I’m a VP at work but basically that’s where I stalled out six years ago. I used to think about managing and building practice groups and landing new clients … now I focus just on the results right in front of my nose for the current client I’m serving. If they’re happy, I am happy, end of story.

o Learning to cook – I tried for a while to get some kitchen skills and move past frozen Trader Joe’s options for dinner, but then trying to watch points/calories got in the way. Nothing in the low calorie category tastes edible to my family and it’s too much of a pain to go to all that effort for an entrée I can’t even sample. Pass.

o This blog – I used to post 3-4 times/week, now I’m lucky if I eek out a post every two weeks.

What about you all? Is “good enough” good enough for you these days? What are some of the ways you’ve embraced mediocrity in your life in order to remain sane? Please share.

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Ali Says: October 16th, 2012 at 02:47 pm

YES!!! I’ve totally fallen into this category. A recovering fast tracker who has struggled to settle into the *C-* lifestyle has been excrutiating at times since my son was born in 2008.

But then we suddenly lost a co-worker, who was 62 – but never enjoyed a day of retirement. The common theme I heard over & over again was how devoted he was to his family, his faith, and his life. Yes, he was the foundation of our group, but he was also so much more.

Practically, the next day, I informed my boss, that not only do I not want the promotion she was gunning for me to receive, but I didn’t want the long hours and such to stay in our group. She was unwilling to support a transfer, but has worked hard to get my hours down to 2 long days a month on a consistent basis, and I’m trying to be more flexible on the ad hoc one-off events.

The one place I’ve accepted mediocrity in for far to long is my marriage, and both my husband & I are working on improving that status. Two full time working parents who end up as ships passing in the night, and a dingy boat who joins them every night in bed has been hard to maintain even a *D* average… Thankfully, we are both committed to getting that back up to at least a *B* average… We know it will be best for all of our family to make that effort.

Five’s Mommy Says: October 16th, 2012 at 04:06 pm

maintaining a clean house! once apon a time, laundry hampers magically remained empty, now they overflow. mopping the floors has become a weekly event when it once was a every other day event. however, every evenin my daughter gets uninterrupted time with me to do what she wants whether that’s cooking dinner together or doing homework.

Bonnie Says: October 18th, 2012 at 04:02 pm

My area of mediocrity is fitness. Before kids, I would work out 6 days a week. Now I’m lucky if I can get in 3. I’ve beaten myself up about it because I can’t get those last pounds off, but now I’m trying to accept my pudgyness.

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